It was while taking part in a course at Harvard Business School in Boston that Michael Lamprell was struck by the idea that would eventually become Cabn.
He had become disillusioned with the business he had been involved with for 20 years, and had started looking for something to help him cope with the pressures and stresses of modern life.
While at Harvard, Lamprell noticed a similar feeling among graduates, who, counter to the trend of the last decade, were turning towards business ideas that provided escape from the fruits of the still-burgeoning tech industry.
He came home and designed the first Cabn.
“We’re building these cabins and tiny houses, and we’re placing them in beautiful secluded locations, and the idea is really simply for people to get off the grid, [to] disconnect,” Lamprell says.
“We’ve got a lock box for people’s mobile phones, so you’re encouraged, when you get there, to put all of your devices away, and just really simply get back to the things that I feel we are not doing enough of, and that is genuine conversations, or going for a walk, being in touch with your surroundings, and cooking a meal together.”
Lamprell has spent the last 12 months building his business, and while he had discovered a disconnected oasis in Cabn, early on he found the process of starting a business to be isolating.
He needed a real-life network he could be a part of, and came across SA Leaders’ Future Leaders program.
“I was looking for a network, and support, and a mentor… [and] really just to have a platform or a support network for me to be able to be comfortable in having conversations about challenges or opportunities,” Lamprell says.
“Being in the program has kept me more focussed on my goals, and focussed on the outcomes. There have been really good conversation at our meetings with various professionals in their fields, that have either taught me something new, or – and I do feel this is really important – have reminded me of things that I had already learned, but had forgotten.
“If you’re starting out and you’re not as well resourced as a lot of other people that are more established, it is a very lonely process, and it’s daunting, and it’s difficult. To be able to have an organisation that keeps you accountable, or keeps you interested, or gives you support – it’s invaluable.”
Lamprell is coming up to a year in the program now, and recently celebrated the official launch of Cabn.
In the first week, he received 60 nights worth of bookings, and interest in the idea crashed the website on the first day.
With just one Cabn currently available for hire in the Adelaide Hills, it’s Lamprell’s plan to now roll them out across the country, and hopefully find a way for people to integrate them into their homes – a private oasis from today’s overly-connected world.
“Our evenings are invaded with our inboxes, and our weekends are invaded with work, and the balance needs to shift,” he says.
“We want to have a model where people trust the Cabn brand, and where we don’t own the Cabns, but people put them on their property… To be a catalyst for people to be able to have a dialogue about what’s really important.
“Is it the rat race, seven days a week, or is it we’ve only got a short time and let’s make the most of it with the people that are important?”
This piece was produced in partnership with SA Leaders. If you’d like to take part in SA Leaders’ Future Leaders program or learn more about how it works, come along to its showcase, hosted by Richard Hockney, on October 31.
For more information on the event, please contact Natasha Malani on 0411 450 552.
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